The Monster Who Ate Australia by Michael Salmon
30th Anniversary Edition. Ford St Publishing, 2014. ISBN:
9781925000542 (hardcover). ISBN 9781925000559 (paperback)
(Age guide: 5 -9 year olds) Highly recommended for Prep children and up! I think back over 20 plus years of teaching and reflect on how many 'geography' lessons I've taught in either Lower School classrooms or the library with the aid of so many of Michael's books. If you've never had the joy of reading aloud The Great Tasmanian Tiger Hunt to a class of five year olds and have them squealing 'He's THERE!' all the way through it, in fits of laughter - your teaching experience is missing out!!
So it is with great pleasure that I am able to review the 30th Anniversary edition of Michael's The Monster Who Ate Australia. Burra the Boggabri lives in Uluru, peacefully and happily, until it starts to swarm with noisy tourists who keep him awake with their rowdy antics. Fed up with all this disruption Burra sets off to find a new home and treks all the way around Australia, not only visiting national icons but eating them! From the Royal Perth Yacht Club to Adelaide's Festival Hall to Lake Burley Griffin and the National Gallery, to the Sydney Opera House and onto the Big Pineapple, Burra tries his best to find somewhere to fit in. By far the lowest point in this journey of discovery is being locked up in Taronga Park Zoo. Luckily, nothing is safe from Burra's appetite and he stealthily escapes after nibbling away the cage bars. In the end, like so many other travellers, Burra realises that there is no place like home, after he arrives back at Uluru, completely exhausted from his epic expedition.
Like all Michael's books this is a humorous colourful romping adventure and like many of them is such a wonderful way to share special locations in our nation with little people, giving them a sense of place and a pride in our unique natural and built landscape. Plotting Burra's journey on maps, finding out more about the places he visits/eats, conversations about which students have travelled to other states, starting a communication with interstate peers are all part of the fun and learning that accompany such a book. This is a splendid opportunity to introduce Michael's work to the newest generation of readers and is worthy of a place on any library bookshelf - or home shelf. I know where this copy is staying!